Sep 232014
 

too busy to networkYou know that networking is an important part of building your business. But we all have those days. Those days when you don’t have enough time to scratch yourself, let alone network!

Why don’t you have time to network?

Well, let’s see.

First I have to drop the kids off at school, then I need to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner. I must go to the bank to deposit a check that I got yesterday, then I have to meet a colleague for a working lunch.

After lunch, I promised my neighbor that I’d take her to her doctor’s appointment, and then by the time I get her back home it’ll be time to pick the kids up from school.

As soon as they’ve had a quick snack, I have to take Billy to his piano lesson, and then take Bobby to soccer practice.

And I haven’t even thought about making dinner (though I did remember to go to the store and buy the ingredients!)

Do you really think that by the time I have washed the dinner dishes I want to start networking?

Does your day look like this?

If your day does look like this, and you think you don’t have time to network, you’re seriously mistaken, my friend! If you slump down in your armchair at the end of a day like this and kick yourself for not making any new connections, then you’ve missed 8 – count them – EIGHT opportunities to get your networking on!

How can you incorporate networking into a busy day?

Could you have talked to some other parents who were dropping their kids off at school?

Could you have made some small talk in the grocery store?

Could you have had a chat with the bank teller while you were doing your banking? Imagine how many people she comes into contact with each day!

Could you have made a connection with your server, or the hostess, at lunch?

The doctor’s waiting room is the perfect place to start a conversation – have you noticed how everyone has their nose stuck in a magazine?

Picking the kids up from school offers the same opportunities for networking as dropping them off in the morning.

I’ll give you the piano lesson to take a breather while you listen to Billy’s progress, or just catch up with some emails on your smartphone.

Soccer moms LOVE to talk, so why aren’t you networking at soccer practice?

You see, networking isn’t all about promoting your business. Networking is about making connections. And making conversation. And, who knows, in the midst of that conversation, you may find an opportunity to offer your service, or sell your product.

Networking begins with building relationships. And building relationships starts with a conversation.

When you look at networking as making conversation, it doesn’t seem like work at all, does it?

 

How do I start a conversation?

 Networking  Comments Off on How do I start a conversation?
Aug 042014
 

how to start a conversation with Bev Edgerton“What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”

We’ve all seen the corny pick up lines – and those are not the lines you want to be pulling out of your magic networking hat when you meet someone you want to get to know better!

It can be difficult to start a conversation with a stranger. Even worse, it can be harder when you know you’re expected to talk to this stranger about yourself!

Be worried no longer, I have some techniques you can use that won’t leave you looking like this is your first time around the networking block – even if it is!

Introduction

Start by confidently walking up the the person you want to talk to. Extend your hand, ready for a solid handshake, and introduce yourself. You may say something like “I don’t believe we’ve met before.” or “Didn’t I see you at the Chamber After-Hourse event?”

Depending on where you are, you may or may not be wearing name tags. If you have name tags, address the person by name. If not, they will most likely introduce themselves. But, if not, it’s perfectly fine to ask for their name.

Conversation topics

You already have something in common with the person you’re talking to. You’re in the same place! Whether it’s a coffee shop where you’re about to get into your first double-shot espresso of the day, or a banquet hall where you’ve come to support your favorite non-profit’s fundraiser. You are in the same place, with a common interest. Coffee. Or the non-profit you support. There you have a talking point.

Remember my cardinal rule of networking. It’s not about you. The only other person in the room with you is the person you are talking to. You may start a conversation by asking how they came to be in the line of business they are in. You may ask if they are local, or if they had to travel to get here. Both the venue and the occasion will have a bearing on where the conversation goes. If you’re at a regular networking meeting that you have never been to before, it’s a good idea to start a conversation by asking someone if they can introduce you to a few people. Everybody loves a newbie!

Ask, ask, ask

Ask for a business card. Ask for referrals. Ask if you can follow up with them at another time. Ask for details on other networking events.  Ask, ask, ask!

That’s all folks!

There are as many ways to start a conversation as there are venues a conversation can be started in.

I always remind people that they are always networking. Whether you’re grocery shopping, or at an organized networking meeting – there’s always an opportunity to start a conversation! You are your own best advertisement. Don’t let it pass you by, or you may end up complaining about “the one that got away”!

photo credit: chuckp via photopin cc